1957 Church Survey- Rehoboth Church of God- Rando Church Near Shaw

The Rehoboth Church of God no longer exists in Washington DC. Nor does it’s 1957 address 1101 8th St NW. There is a convention center at that spot. So if it were still there it would be in Mt. Vernon Sq., next to Shaw. Really doesn’t matter as they did not provide much information to the 1957 Church Survey.

CS-42-Rehoboth Church of God by Mm Inshaw

 

1957 Church Survey: Second Baptist Church- Rando Church not in Shaw

Well this is another in the series of churches participating in the 1957 Northwest Urban Renewal Area church survey. This church survey has never been replicated. There have been other reports but they approach the churches as a whole and not as individual congregations. Churches are interesting as an entity.  Florida Avenue Baptist is completely different from Mt. Sinai Baptist, despite both being Baptist.

Today’s church is Second Baptist Church at 816 3rd Street NW, which is still functioning today in the Mt. Vernon Triangle area. Then as is now, it is an African American church. In 1957, it was a middle aged and middle class Continue reading 1957 Church Survey: Second Baptist Church- Rando Church not in Shaw

1957 Church Survey- Third Church of Christ Scientist- Random Churches not in Shaw

This church used to be know for it’s fugly building.

Third Church of Christ, Scientist - Washington, D.C..JPG
By AgnosticPreachersKid CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

But this is not about the fug, this is about history. [Yes, yes, we could go on about the history of the Brutalist building that only an architectural historian could love, but I’m here for the people]. Besides, in 1957 they weren’t even at 16th and I NW where the ugly building was. No, they were at 1220 L St NW, which is currently occupied by a nondescript 1980s looking Downtown office building.

The interesting thing about this survey submission is that they say that due to their own church rules they could not provide numbers.  But they did go on to say that most of their members did not live in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area. They don’t give a racial make up of their congregation, nor an idea if they members are white collar or blue. Continue reading 1957 Church Survey- Third Church of Christ Scientist- Random Churches not in Shaw

Church Survey 1957: Chinese Community Church

Taking another couple of pages from the church survey done back in 1957 of churches in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area, which got changed into the Shaw Urban Renewal and Downtown Urban Renewal Areas. From the book we have the Chinese Community Church at 1011 L St N.W (Sq. 341, lots 63, 64 & D). I thought this church was outside of the Shaw boundaries but it seems to be within the Shaw Historic District.

This one was unusual. This 150 member church claimed to be the only Chinese protestant church in the District of Columbia. It also appears that at the time they were in the process of building their own church building. I will guess it was their current building at 500 I Street NW. But in 1957, Continue reading Church Survey 1957: Chinese Community Church

1957 Church Survey: Fifteenth Presbyterian

It’s been a while since I posted one of these. If you’re new, in the late 1950s there was a survey of all the religious institutions in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area, which came before the smaller Shaw School Urban Renewal Area. There is a whole book of churches that reveal a lot of information about churches, some that still exist.

15th-St-Presbyterian-Wiki-CommonsThis one is a confusing one. Fifteenth Presbyterian Church, could also be the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church. They are on the same block Sq. 207. However the lots cited, 801 and 802, don’t appear to exist anymore. Nor does the address 1449 R St NW. Google maps puts it in the back of the 15th St Church of the frozen chosen (black ice). I’mma going to make my life easier and just say that they are the same church, because what are the chances they aren’t?

This was and still is an African American church with 640 members in 1957. According the the survey half lived in the neighborhood along 14th St NW. But in 1957 there were also a lot of grey hairs, with 50% being over 50 years old and 21% being retirees.  They were also a church of professionals (40%) and white collar workers (20%).

CS 59 Fifteenth Presbyterian by Mm Inshaw

Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 7: Dissension and Weakness

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

In the last chapter we looked at the institution of the Black church. Woodson continues on the topic but goes into the problem of a dis-united church and other problems.

In recent years the churches in enlightened centres have devoted less attention to dissension than formerly, but in the rural districts and small cities they have not changed much; and neither in urban communities nor in the country has any one succeeded in bringing these churches together to work for their general welfare. The militant sects are still fighting one another, and in addition to this the members of these sects are contending among themselves. The spirit of Christ cannot dwell in such an atmosphere.

I shrug at this. Even in the Bible early Christians were divided, so…. Anyway, Woodson is critical of the quality of the church leaders, usually the preacher. “Because our “highly educated” people do not do this, large numbers of Negroes drift into churches led by the “uneducated” ministers who can scarcely read and write.” And he doesn’t let up on criticism of the “educated”, as usual.

In a rural community, then, a preacher of this type must fail unless he can organize separately members of the popular Methodist and Baptist churches who go into the ritualistic churches or establish certain “refined” Methodist or Baptist churches catering to the “talented tenth.” For lack of adequate numbers, however, such churches often fail to develop sufficient force to do very much for themselves or for anybody else. On Sunday morning, then, their pastors have to talk to the benches. While these truncated churches go higher in their own atmosphere of self-satisfaction the mentally undeveloped are left to sink lower because of the lack of contact with the better trained. If the latter exercised a little more judgment, they would be able to influence these people for good by gradually introducing advanced ideas.

When he mentions W.E.B. DuBois’ “talented tenth” it comes off as a swipe and a continuation of his frustration with “educated” African Americans. He’s not fond of the uneducated preacher either. No wonder people think he was an atheist, which I do not.

I think Woodson was unconvinced about the validity of the Christian faith by his observations of Christian practitioners and by the fact it was obtained from the white majority.

It is very clear, then, that if Negroes got their conception of religion from slaveholders, libertines, and murderers, there may be something wrong about it, and it would not hurt to investigate it. It has been said that the Negroes do not connect morals with religion. The historian would like to know what race or nation does such a thing. Certainly the whites with whom the Negroes have come into contact have not done so.

 

 

Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 6: The Educated Negro Leaves the Masses

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933. Don’t let the title fool you this is about church.

Religion is but religion, if the people live up to the faith they profess.- Carter G. Woodson

Wikipedia uses as a citation for the claim that Woodson was an outspoken critic of the Christian Church a site that provides no deep research to back up that claim. Woodson was an expert in the subject of the Black church, having had written The History of the Negro Church, published in 1921. He had strong and valid criticisms but I haven’t seen much to support the claim he was an atheist, but rather more of an agnostic who was very disappointed with the Negro church.

In this chapter I can see where Woodson sees a great value in the Black Church because, “the Negro church is the only institution the race controls.” Once again he is annoyed at the educated AfAms (when isn’t he?) who leave the Negro church for more “ritualistic” denominations. Those being Catholic and Episcopal churches. Me: Guilty as charged. Mainly because Black people church is too damned long.

Woodson mentions he once visited ” in Washington, D. C., one of the popular Negro churches with a membership of several thousands“. I wonder was it maybe Shiloh Baptist? I mean he wouldn’t have to cross the street to pop in. Anyway, at this unnamed Black church he could only spot two college graduates in attendance, and they were only there to get something (fund raising and charity).

I can read Woodson’s frustration with the Black church. “The Negro church, however, although not a shadow of what it ought to be, is the great asset of the race.” He sees the church’s potential as an organizing body and how it could serve the Black race (theology shmeology), but can’t ignore the hypocrisy, charleton preachers, and other human failings and shortcomings that come along with the Black church and church in general.

Let’s ignore Woodson’s lack of adherence to any faith and get to the topic of the book and this chapter, criticizing college educated Black people. Black church was where the Black masses were. It was the most powerful institution controlled by African Americans. Where were the “mis-educated” educated Afro-Americans, not in the Black Baptist and Black Methodist churches. A theme throughout The Mis-Education of the Negro is that the college educated Black people lose contact and are out of touch with the common Black person.

Maybe next year I should explore his book on the history of the Black church.

I was raised in the Black Baptist church and am currently a Roman Catholic, who had a short detour with the Episcopalians, so there are some things in this chapter I want to address before closing. Woodson pointed out that the problem with the Catholic and Episcopalian churches was that a Black man’s rise was limited. This problem has been since rectified. The current presiding Archbishop of the Episcopal church is an African American man, Michael Curry. And the current Archbishop of Washington, DC, Cardinal Wilton Gregory (the 1st AfAm cardinal) heads the Roman Catholic diocese. There has been some advancement for African Americans since Woodson published his book.

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Corinthian Baptist Church

Landowner list of Sq 551Last one in this particular series looking at the above segment of the General Assessment 1933-1934. I was not going to look at Ms. Julia W. McGuire, as she is in a trustee position. My dad is a trustee at his church (why. lord. why) and so his name shows up on the tax database for his county for his church’s parking lots. But another quick look at the Recorder of Deeds database showed that she transferred ownership to Corinthian Baptist Church July 23, 1931. I guess I’m looking up Ms. McGuire.

Mrs. Julia Wise (Grayson?) McGuire (1862- 1952), lived at 531 T St NW was the widow of Robert L. McGuire, and was an African American woman. That’s as much research as I want to do. I’ll write a bit about Corinthian Baptist Church. It was part of the 1957 Church Survey, so I have that link here.

Corinthian Baptist was at 3rd and Q before they moved to the unit block of Q. Corinthian Baptist at some point gave way to Ebeneezer Baptist. They sold their property to Mt. Sinai Baptist in July 23, 1948. The database says 7/20/1948 but that is definitely a 3 not a 0. Seems like July 23rd is a special date.

As you can see with your own eyes, the lots owned by the church managed to survive the urban renewal which created the Northwest Cooperative and Florida Avenue Park.

 

1957 Church Survey: Third Church of God

Okay I had to look at the old Shaw map to figure out if this was in Mount Vernon Square or Shaw or both. The answer is both. The Mount Vernon Square historical district overlaps with parts of Shaw.

Commercial Building Map
Map of Shaw for 1970 Commercial Buildings

The the other question was, “Is this the church on New Jersey Ave?”  Yup, 3rd Street, New Jersey Ave, same diff apparently. That little section between Morgan and New York Avenue, has northbound traffic going on New Jersey and southbound traffic on 3rd Street.

The Third Church of God appears to continue on as the Third Street Church of God. In the 1957 survey their address is listed as 1204 3rd Street NW. Looking at their history listed on their website they wrote: Continue reading 1957 Church Survey: Third Church of God

1957 Church Survey- New Hope Baptist

Some Church Survey posts are chock full of information, and some got nada. And that is New Hope Baptist Church.

CS 49 New Hope Baptist by Mm Inshaw

 

I looked up the address on Google and according to Streetview, the True Gospel Baptist Church is at that spot now. And just for my own records the SSL now is 0303-0052.  This page barely has any useful information, except the name of the then pastor Rev. Truman Dixon who lived on the premises at 1104 W Street NW.